The Storm thrashed the Broncos 60-12, for the club's third loss in the past four weeks.
Broncos prop Payne Haas is in doubt for Origin II after hurting his “good shoulder” in Brisbane’s gutsy 24-18 triumph over Canberra at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Haas played no further part in the match after going off for treatment on his right shoulder late in the first half after previously having problems with his left one in a worrying sign not only for Brisbane coach Kevin Walters but also his former Origin rival, Blues mentor Brad Fittler.
The Blues name their team next Sunday with Origin II in Perth seven days later.
Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds was replaced midway through the second half with rib damage and centre Herbie Farnworth followed him minutes later with a bicep problem as the home side held on for their seventh straight win to reaffirm fourth spot on the ladder.
“In my time here as a player and on the staff I can’t remember a team that’s had so many injuries, and not just bumps and bruises but actual game-ending injuries and possibly weeks, months on the sidelines,” Walters said.
“So it was a great effort by everyone, particularly those guys backing up from Origin too. We just ran out of troops in the end and poor Adam had to kick that goal with basically broken ribs. From that regard, it was really good.”
Reynolds said he was “pretty sore” and would have scans on Sunday morning to determine the extent of the damage. Walters said Haas would also get his shoulder X-rayed: “He was in a fair bit of pain as well. Given that he’d just played Origin on Wednesday we figured that he’d had enough so we left him off. Hopefully the scans won’t prove too much damage but again we’ll just have to wait and see in the next few days.”
Walters said Farnworth’s bicep injury could be season-ending while Cory Paix has a long-term knee injury, Corey Oates has a swollen hand and Te Maire Martin also has a rib problem. “There’s a whole host of guys in there that are really busted.”
Reynolds said they were “never going to give up” despite the injury carnage. “I didn’t want to come from the field but I was struggling to do my job,” he said.
Despite the opposition suffering a horrendous injury toll, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was bemoaning his team’s lack of fortune. “You need a little bit of luck. We probably played without a little bit of luck tonight,” Stuart said. “A couple of times things didn’t come off for us. Yeah, you do make your own luck but there’s times where it goes your way, it’s a massive help.
“That was a good win for Kev. A couple of players out and a couple of key players injured for them during the game.”
The Broncos opened the scoring in the ninth minute when livewire five-eighth Ezra Mam produced footwork close to the try line that was far too fancy for Elliott Whitehead after the Canberra forward was isolated one on one.
Canberra responded in the 18th minute when Nick Cotric outleapt a couple of lazy Broncos who stood and watched the winger soar into the Brisbane night sky to latch onto a high crossfield kick from halfback Jamal Fogarty and square the ledger.
Off-season recruits Brenko Lee and Jordan Pereira were given a chance by Kevin Walters with Kotoni Staggs nursing a sore shoulder from Origin I and young winger Selwyn Cobbo rested.
Lee provided Pereira, in his Broncos debut after heading north from St George Illawarra, with a saloon passage to the line in the right corner in the 23rd minute to make it 12-6.
The gap could have been bigger a few minutes later when Corey Oates flew high to latch onto an attacking kick and passed inside for Mam with the try line beckoning but Raiders prop Joseph Tapine lassoed the Bronco from behind.
His front-row partner Corey Horsburgh made it a 12-point turnaround when he muscled over from close range and the scores were again level.
Haa’s departure was a savage blow for Brisbane and Canberra copped one of their own when Xavier Savage blew a golden try-scoring opportunity when he botched the last pass to Fogarty after Tapine set up a long break.
Brisbane claimed a 16-12 lead when Martin broke free down the right edge to send Farnworth sprinting away to the stripe.
Martin’s return to the NRL has been one of the feelgood stories of the season after bleeding on the brain forced him into premature retirement after playing for the Cowboys in 2019.
Canberra claimed a two-point advantage at the break when Knights-bound veteran Adam Elliott finished off an interchange of passing which included two offloads from fellow back-rower Hudson Young.
Farnworth’s second try and a penalty goal to Reynolds put the Broncos up 24-18 before the skipper and Farnworth left the field within a couple of minutes of each other.
Savage made a searching kick return to give the Green Machine a sniff but was rounded up short of the line in a one on one tackle from his opposing No.1 in Martin.
Raiders star Jack Wighton got over the line but despite fatigue setting in due to their trio of casualties, Brisbane’s defence held firm to hold him up.
Despite the Green Machine motoring towards Brisbane’s line several times in the final stages, the hosts held them out.
Mam had to go off for a head injury assessment in the final minutes, meaning Walters had nobody left on his bench in the closing stages.
“It doesn’t matter who goes off, we’ve had it all year,” Stuart said. “They did a good job to hang in there and keep us away.”